Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Book review and interview: “Left Bank” by Agnès Poirier

The ancient heart of Paris gives its name to a recently published book by writer and journalist Agnès Poirier, but rather than the history, geography or architecture of the district, it is an extraordinary period in its life in the middle of the twentieth century, and more particularly on a cast of fascinating characters that take centre stage.
 

If the Left Bank of Paris had already (re)developed artistic and cultural relevance in the 1920s and 30s, it is the period between 1940 and 1950 that Poirier convincingly argues was the era when the rive gauche truly played a world-changing role. At the heart of the book – which she describes as being neither a work of fiction nor an academic analysis, but rather a “reconstruction, a collage of images, a kaleidoscope of destinies” – are two extremely magnetic poles; Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Challenge 12: a tale of two bridges

That whole area is weird” wrote Jonathan, encouraging me to look into a metropolitan mystery that had been bugging him on his daily cycle commute to work. There’s the road that stops, starts again and splits into two, a church that looks more like a house and a forgotten statue that sits next to an unnamed roundabout.  Most of all though, there are two large bridges stretching across the railway lines within 50 metres of each other. “Why would they build two bridges right next to each other” asked Jonathan, noting that one is always empty, while the other is always one big traffic jam.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Le Corbusier and a sinking feeling

A little over eight years ago on this blog I posted on Le Corbusier’s two 1929 Salvation Army projects in Paris. If his polychrome Cité de Refuge has since undergone extensive renovations and shines on the horizon, the concrete barge on the Seine, the Louise-Catherine, unfortunately sank in 20 minutes last weekend following the recent floods.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Planes, photos and doctored postcards

This tale should logically be number 12 in my list of challenges, but rather than solving a mystery I have instead upset a wasp nest of other riddles that may or may not all be related beyond one clear link; photography.
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